Big thanks to our friends at Everbrave for inviting Nick Bond on the Apex team to discuss the role of CX in a B2B world. The conversation was lively and insightful and was highlighted by great questions from participants. You can watch the full video HERE.
The big question we tackled? How can you start prioritizing your clients’ unique needs and expectations to create a more customer-centric B2B experience?
We discussed the things that make CX easy to overlook in B2B and spoke about how a B2B company might start to think about clients differently. It’s all based on a simple truth: Your clients are people too.
Some key insights we gleaned from the past few years of our own data:
- Empathy – customers feeling understood – is a more important concept in B2B than it is in B2C. They need you to know them, their motivations, expectations, and frustrations.
- Dependability is the number one attitude related to a B2B customer’s likelihood to advocate for and buy from you in the future. It’s not speed, price, or customer service. It’s your clients feeling like, when push comes to shove, you have their back.
The data and insights all point to the same conclusion: Companies don’t buy from companies – people buy from people. And people crave connection. So once we accept that we are dealing with real human beings, applying the principles of CX just makes sense.
What is CX anyway? More than a simple acronym for Customer Experience, CX as a concept represents a commitment to understanding your audience and their journey with you at each interaction. And beyond this basic understanding, it’s about responding and consistently acting according to their desires and expectations.
CX in 3 Steps:
Understand your audience: It’s not about demographics or buying behaviors. Start instead with their attitudes. The elements that are upstream of any decision they make. Do your homework and do some research. We need to understand our audiences in three ways:
- First, figure out who they are as people (are they optimistic, do they feel confident, do they feel secure, do they consider themselves more leaders or team players, etc.).
- Next, who are they in the category? Do they feel like they have the tools, resources and information they need? Do they feel confident in taking a decision given the choices and competition?
- Last, who are they versus your brand? We use our Apex Score to get to the heart of this one, but however it’s done, pulling apart what their expectations are of your brand, and the extent to which you’re meeting those expectations plays a big role in building out your audience personas.
Understand their Experiences: Using data-driven tools like the Journey Maps we develop, any CX-driven organization needs to know how they are performing at each customer touch point versus audience expectations. We see many approaches getting used here, from Alchemer’s Voice of the Customer (VoC) research platform, NPS products like Delighted, and Journey Map development tools like Smaply (which we love). The important thing is coming away with an understanding of how your customers are experiencing every interaction with your business so you can break down internal silos and bring the consistency they’re seeking.
Understand how your brand needs to show up: Probably the most underserved part of CX – and a huge reason why the Apex Scoring System exists – is to help you take decisions and make plans that are aligned with the kind of overall experience your clients are seeking. It’s one thing to understand your audience, it’s another to take action and operationalize those insights. It’s at this point where data-driven companies turn into CX-driven companies.